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Community reaction to Air Canada wildcat strike

Categories: Canada

 The picture of a man spitting in the face of an Air Canada baggage handler received fierce condemnation from readers. (Victor Biro/Canadian Press)News of Air Canada workers' wildcat strike Thursday night incited a passionate debate amongst members of the CBC Community.

Ground crews and baggage handlers at Toronto's Pearson International Airport walked off the job to protest the suspension of three workers who applauded sarcastically as Labour Minister Lisa Raitt walked through the airport earlier in the day.

Though the wildcat strike was soon put to an end, discussion about it had only just begun. Readers responded in legion to the story, posting more than 1,900 comments by Friday afternoon.

Opinions on the strike were incredibly varied and mixed. Some of them were supportive of the strike and the airline's unions. Others were less vocal but still sympathetic to the workers' situation.

  • "First they have their right to strike taken away and now they have their right to applaud taken away. What country is this? It's inconvenient, but I support them." - proudCanadian09
  • "This wouldn't have happened if the 'Conservative' government would stop constantly interfering with Air Canada. Try being a real conservative for a change and let the market work. It's the only way to permanently solve the airline's problems." - Tridus
  • "Employees usually don't 'wildcat' unless they are treated poorly by their employer. It seems to be a recurring scenario from Air Canada. If Air Canada bargained in good faith they wouldn't be in this situation." - Kevin 7
  • "What more was to be expected when the government essentially said, 'Get back to work, you're not permitted to discuss your working conditions'? My wife is anti-union, but even she will admit that legislation denying rights is overstepping boundaries." - Seldom Says
Others disapproved of the wildcat strike that cancelled at least 84 flights at Pearson and stranded several travellers.

  • "This isn't about contract negotiations, this is because three employees acted rudely in front of all kinds of Air Canada customers. There has to be consequences for their actions." - Porteous
  • "Hey, there are lots of people looking for jobs. If these people don't want them try someone else. Maybe it is time to be satisfied and happy with what you have, when so many are suffering." - aircor
  • "I think for illegal strikes, the employer should be allowed to fire the employees. After all, you decided not to show up for shift that day. Fair is fair!" - DenisToronto
  • "Zero sympathy for these workers. In 72 hours they shouldn't have a job." - bluestarplease
A few shared "customer testimonials" about their choices either to fly Air Canada or avoid doing so. Some wrote about how the strike directly affected their travelling plans.

  • "This past summer, we decided to take a chance and drive the extra hour to Buffalo and fly with an American airline. We experienced exceptional service, downright friendly staff and paid half the price Air Canada would have charged. If Air Canada actually had to compete with another airline for their customers, they would go out of business in less than a week." - Vegan Carnivore
  • "So here I sit this morning in the lounge at the Toronto airport after finding out that my flight to Moncton [N.B.] is cancelled. I have been on the road since Tuesday and I was supposed to get home by lunchtime. Our daughter is having knee surgery this morning and she was expecting me to be there waiting when it is done. I guess that will not happen. Thanks, Air Canada ." - Just Frustrated
And the photo at the top of the story on CBC News, of a man spitting into the face of a baggage handler, sparked a vicious reaction. Many felt that such actions were unacceptable regardless of the conflict between Air Canada workers and inconvenienced customers.

  • "As a union member, I hope that piece of garbage in the picture spitting on the lady is arrested." - Jack Daniels
  • "One doesn't have to be a union member to hope that. Assault of any kind is unacceptable behaviour." - Scoville Scale
  • "The above picture of the man spitting in a handler's face is truly disgusting. Some people are nothing but a waste of space." - Fear is a WMD
As always, thanks for your feedback and discussion. Feel free to challenge or agree with these comments or leave your own in the comments section below.

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